Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Easier to Blame the Faceless

A moving piece at The Guardian yesterday by Mike Carter bought tears to my eyes:
I walked from Liverpool to London. Brexit was no surprise.
Maybe the Brexit vote from the people living in areas Carter describes was inevitable - they needed to blame someone and to, at last, make themselves heard. I understand their pain and frustration, I do! Yet they were not aiming their wrath in the right direction.

Among the 2000+ comments under Mike Carter's article I saw one with which I 100% agreed, posted by another Annie: "Annie M"

As the fallout continues, this is another truth emerging: that it's much easier to blame "abroad" in the guise of the EU/faceless bureaucrats and those darn immigrants than it is to blame the home team. Consecutive governments on all sides from Thatcher on down to today, with their failure to serve the people who elected them, is the real reason for this disastrous Brexit vote. I've long been predicting that the working class will rise again, possibly through some new configuration of organised labour, but perhaps this referendum has been their single best weapon to stick it to the ruling class however devastating the outcome. (Annie M)

I'm both very sad, and very angry at the situation in which my old homeland finds itself now, with no strong leadership to steer it through the tangle ahead. Perhaps this is the fever stage, it'll continue for a short time, then break and a slow healing will begin, though it will be leaving the country weaker, for many years, than need ever have been the case. Will those people on Mike Carter's route be any better off though?

I voted in many General Elections during my 60+ years in England, I always voted Labour - always! Labour used to be the party of the working classes. Labour changed though, just as the Democratic party in the US has changed over the years. Both parties abandoned their roots long ago - and that is where the true rot is seated, both here in the USA and there in Britain - and where all the blame should rightly be aimed.

The EU isn't perfect, far from it, but it's being made the scapegoat for decades of what's now called neoliberalism in national governments - abandonment of the working classes by all political parties. Conservatives and Republicans never pretended to represent the working classes - how so many years under their rule have happened I shall never understand, but at least they never pretended to be something they were not. The poisoning of the Labour Party and the Democratic Party are crimes which will need to be accounted for at some point - perhaps not quite yet, it seems, but soon.

I let my keyboard cool down after typing the above, and moved on to read the day's offerings at The Smirking Chimp. I was happily surprised to find a piece by one of my favourite writers, absent for many months. Prof. David Michael Green's piece is an excellent commentary on the overall, worldwide situation which has directly brought about the results on which I've scribbled above. Prof DMG's article is titled:
How The West Was Lost and Other Joys of Greedy Sociopathy - do give it a read!


mike said...

I find the correlation of everything-Brexit to the USA's affairs very interesting. Many pundits are declaring direct parallels and with similar consequences for the USA ahead, yet no one seems to truly grasp the definitions and consequences of Brexit for the UK or the EU in real time, only speculatively. Expletives of disaster and ruin abound. Makes me wonder who and how the adults let the kids play with matches around the butane. I find a common theme in all of this regardless what sub-topic (immigration, oligarchs, the 1%, globalization, etc) of Brexit or USA politics are discussed: I've lost so much and I can't bear to lose more.

Green's essay, while I can't argue with his paragraphs regarding greedy sociopathy displayed by the elite, doesn't accurately describe how we, the preyed upon febrile, played our role in this game. We gave our power to the elitists, because we wanted what they were having for lunch. Our 401K retirement packages are loaded with Wall Street and we turn them over to investment firms that push for high returns at all costs, then we gloat at how well our investments are doing. Then we complain that those same corporations are taking our bodies and minds into the zombie apocalypse. We hate the lobbyists that are doing our 401K bidding to the politicians that work for the corporations and not the humanoids. We want very cheap goods so we can live the good life, but we hate all the background stuff eating us alive that provide those cheap goods that we buy at Walmart and Target.

I read a blog post about Brexit last night and a comment made was, "Personally, I don’t much care about being one of the masses, as long as I can have a rational expectation of adequate safety, food, shelter, housing, access to travel and information, and medical care."

My reply:
"I suspect that anyone reading this comment lives in the upper 5% to 10% of global wealth. We already have a lot and aren’t very willing to share our '…rational expectation of adequate safety, food, shelter, housing, access to travel and information, and medical care ' with those that have far less.

'The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.'

I’m guilty of disdain toward the rich-elite 1%, yet blind to my own vast wealth compared to most of the global population. This is part of the Uranus-Pluto, Saturn-Neptune irony.
'Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?'”

mike (again) said...

Hhmmm...my comment must have gone to spam, Twilight.

Twilight said...

From "JD" in Britain (via e-mail)

On Brexit it would be a good idea to start with this Spectator article by Julie Burchill.....
where she describes the two sides of the Brexit debate as ponces and non ponces and she has hit the nail on the head.

This hasn't really been about the EU, it has been a chance to vent our fury at the political class. The Brexit vote was. in my view, a chance to register a protest vote against this Westminster/Whiehall/media incestuous relationship which ignores the realities of life outside the 'bubble' but in the aftermath the media has been navel-gazing and wittering on about the in-fighting of the two main parties, especially focusing on Corbyn's Labour Party. In case they haven't noticed he and they are not the government. What he and they are doing is not the main issue at this time.

Like you I have no objection to the idea of 'Europe' but it is the politicians who are the main problem. Their insanity is almost as bad as their vanity, they are all of them 'crippled with ego' and self interest is their main concern. The only way to shake them up is to vote Brexit, give them a wake up call. Same as in the US, the people are angry with the ploitical class which has given rise to separatist movements all over Europe.

As an aside I was reading in yesterday's Sunday Post about Mark Singer's book, a profile of Donald Trump -
Very interesting. Trump didn't want to be president, he was just drumming up publicity for himself (he is crippled with ego) but it has run away with him. The more outlandish his comments have been, the more popular he has become and now it is out of his control. His ego will not allow him to back down now and yet he still doesn't want the responsibility of being in the White House. If the Republicans block his nomination, he wins by being able to blame others. If he does get the nomination.......!!! Gawd help us :)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for your thoughts on this sticky topic. I'm still trying to get completely straight in my head the different strands of motive, political and personal that have blended to result in Brexit. Although the vote was certainly a protest vote by the working class, it appears to have been made up of a mixture of old fashioned Labour people, but plus a newer brand of voter: UK Independence fans (UKIP)- which are NOT the kind of people I'd have been supporting - they are the equal of Trump's worst supporters - verging on fascist. I find 'em scary - read some of the commentary under the article linked in JD's comment .

While you're obviously right that even at our worst, here in the West in the UK and the USA and in Europe in general, we've an awful lot to be thankful for compared to the people of under-developed nations. I also get what you're saying about how people in the USA have helped this bad situation here by pandering to what have become leeching corporate bodies for so long, via 401Ks etc. (unknown in the UK by the way).

What's done is done. Brexit is favoured, Hillary Clinton is favoured. Bernie couldn't overcome her machine; and it looks as though James Corbyn - the decent Labour guy in the UK, doesn't have much support from his colleagues.

Trying not to think about Donald Trump!

It remains a twitchy "wait and see" time.

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thank you for your take on Brexit- you're "our man on the spot" :-)

I read the Spectator piece you linked, and some of the comments. I honestly found it and them quite unpleasant, a tad scary, and mainly anger-inducing. Maybe I'm what the writer calls "a ponce" - though I am, and always have been, more left-wing then she has ever been.

You've said more or less what I said in my post, I think. True blame lies with the British politicians. I don't think you've had the right kind of Labour leader for too many years/decades. Blair wasn't ever Labour. Michael Foot was Labour, John Smith (rest his soul) was Labour and would have been a great PM had he lived. Neil Kinnock was kinda Labour, better than Blair anyway, but people didn't like him, so he was sent to the EU and seemed to become infected with something else.

Voters have now woken up, it seems, even though those who are not bigots and xenophobes are throwing blame in the wrong place.

I hope you have a General Election soon - before 2020 anyway. Is there a decent leader for Labour available though? From over here it looks like the lady in Scotland - Ms Sturgeon - is better than any politician south of the border. Someone should kidnap her and get her to London to stand as national Labour candidate.

Twilight said...

Just seen this at Huff Post

Labour MPs have voted overwhelmingly to declare they have ‘no confidence’ in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party.

Sigh. From over here Corbyn seemed like their version of Bernie - but he's a less forceful figure. Why don't they have confidence in him? Anyone know? Why didn't more primary voters vote for Bernie - anyone know?

mike (again) said...

Bernie would have received more primary votes had most of the states allowed independents to vote in either of the Republican or Democratic primaries...30% to 40% of the electorate are independents. Plus, Hillary pre-purchased her super-delegates from 33 states before the primaries via a legal loophole, allowing a major lead over Bernie before voting, and she advertised those super-delegates, though they don't vote until the DNC next month. Technically, neither Hillary nor Bernie won the primary and this SHOULD BE a contested DNC.

As for Corbyn, most believe he betrayed them by giving lip-service to "remain" while being a "leave" at heart:

Too soon to tell how this plays-out for Bernie, but Bernie will perhaps be in a similar position as Corbyn, towing the DNC platform for Hillary, but with no heart in it.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Re Bernie and primary votes - agreed. What that says, digging a layer deeper, is that the US system is partially skewed, or rigged. All states ought to have the same rules in an election for president of The UNITED States. DNC which is really like a privately owned company, wants total control - where it can manage it.

I do not see why voters here are required to be registered as one party or the other or independent/no party - per the rules. If they wish to be a paying member of a party, it'd be best to simply register with the party itself, pay its dues regularly, but not appear as party-related on voters' rolls. In my opinion, all voters ought to be classed as neutral, until they vote. Cloud cuckoo land, I guess.

We can only take what we are told in on-line articles about Corbyn's relation to the Brexit issue. His politics, in the main, are similar to Bernie's if I've read correctly. How would Bernie have felt about voting for Brexit, were he British I wonder? I suspect he'd have been practical enough to realise that getting out of the EU would be a remedy for nothing, and a recipe for potential disaster. Maybe that's what Corbyn thought but was not enough of a statesman to deal with it properly in public.

mike (again) said...

"Will Bernie Sanders Pull a Jeremy Corbyn and Let Donald Trump Win?
The Democratic runner-up essentially endorsed the anger-fueled tantrum behind the Brexit and hasn't made clear how hard he’ll work to defeat right-wing populism at home."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Hmmm - the writer there is not being fair to Sanders regarding Trump. I've heard him many times declare that "WE MUST NOT allow a Trump presidency" - in his campaign speeches and when interviewed and badgered as to whether he will endorse Clinton. the writer picked one instance of an MSNBC interview

He didn’t look his MSNBC interlocutor in the eye; he just stared glumly down at the table. He spoke with all the commitment of a hostage reading a statement.

He has stood before 10s of thousands of supporters over past months and shouted it to the heavens!

Dang, but that writer is being ridiculous.

JD said...

The reason for the desperate hurry to get rid of Corbyn is because the Chilcot Report will be published on wednesday. It will not be kind to Tony Blair; Corbyn voted against the Iraq war in 2003 but most of those who expressed 'no confidence' in him voted in favour of that war
It is going to be an interesting week :)

You might like this blog even if he is often obscure and confusing in style - http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/

mike (again) said...

I found it interesting that should Corbyn be thrown-out, he'll be on the re-election ticket...LOL.

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thanks for that information and for the link - it's now bookmarked. :-)

It appears to be the Parliamentary Labour Party members who want Corbyn out, not the people who elected him. I see today that Cameron is also telling him to go - what a bleedin' cheek!

Twilight said...

Here's a very good article I've just read - mentions the Corbyn issue quite a bit.

A Progressive American in London - My Thoughts on Brexit


mike (again) said...

Goodness...every site, whether news or blog, has tremendous coverage of one of the many aspects of Brexit. The Hakimi link you provide is but one version from the many. Portions of the Brexit fallout change hourly, depending on who resigned or who didn't, and the consequences thereof...then that changes several hours or a day later. It seems to me that Cameron unleashed Brexit as subterfuge.

"As one journalist quipped the day after the referendum: 'It’s been a rather strange day. The prime minister has resigned and it’s only our third most important story.'”

The parallel of UK-EU to USA politics is intriguing! Is all of this chaos from the Uranus-Pluto and Saturn-Neptune square? As above, so below. Nothing is as it seems with the Saturn-Neptune aspect.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, the discussions are never-ending - it's a BIG issue with many tentacles and ways of looking at it. It all seems just so wrong, so not British, and unbelievable to me (and my gut-feeling), but I've been away for too long to be clear about it. It seems to me - an analogy again - as if someone decided it'd be a good idea to try to pull a tablecloth from under a complex set-up of crockery, glassware and cutlery and expect everything to stay safely unbroken, if in disarray Madness! they've got disarray alright, but the breakages will be heavy in time.

Cameron's decision to hold the referendum, I understand, was a ploy to safeguard his position when a rift in his party occurred. Selfish reason, and he from his entitled bubble thought it'd be a cinch Remain result. his judgment is about on a par with hillary Clinton's and e-mal management!

I think it's simply Pluto in Capricorn at work - it has taken a while to come absolutely clear, but we're now feeling it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, oh....


Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Groan - a re-formed UKIP would probably be even worse, if that were possible!

R J Adams said...

Re Corbyn, it's the old story: he's not "one of them". He's old Labour, pre-Blair, a true socialist. Socialism has been a dead duck in the Labour party for years and Corbyn's revived it, much to the chagrin of the Parliamentary lot. Cameron's scathing remarks to him during PM's question time yesterday were typical of the contempt in which they hold him. They're all immersed in their high-level, high-finance, corrupt political games and see Corbyn as some relic from the past. The truth is he's the only one around who actually cares about the country and the working people that Mike Carter wrote about. The grass roots recognise that (which was how he came to be elected leader) but the Parliamentary Labour party ( most of them) find him an embarrassment. I've been appalled since Brexit to hear Labour politicians cooing over their sudden camaraderie with their Tory colleagues - how they're 'all working together to make things right for the country'. Bollocks! They mean 'their country', not the country of the people. Let's just amalgamate into one big united, right-wing, party and when Arron Banks forms his bigoted, fascist, ideals into the new UKIP, they can become the new opposition. What a wonderful country Britain will be then!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Ah yes - that makes sense! I hadn't realised that so many of the party calling itself "Labour" (or is it still "New Labour")were as neo-liberal and in essence conservative proper as they now appear to be. Dang, but the rot has set in there as well as here. More strength to Jeremy Corbyn!

The minute my computer fired up this morning I see the headline - Boris Johnson leaves PM race. Well - isn't THAT special? His was one of the voices without which there would not have been a Brexit vote - he told outright lies, enticed people who were under-informed, yet he was without any form of plan of what to do if the people followed his direction. I wish there were still stocks - he should be put in stocks and pelted with rotten veggies for a month, and worse! Maybe, though, it'll be best for Britain in the end not to have him leading the nation.

Unbelievable goings-on!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I got the distinct impression that some of the Brexit proponents were shocked that they actually won, BoJo included. They're well rid of him IMO but then there's Theresa May, she of 'UK should leave European Convention on Human Rights.' But it is Arron Banks' proposal to amalgamate the right that is most concerning of all of it; his is a master stroke with Tories and 'Labour' in such disarray, he probably will be successful in poaching from their parties.

Horrid news this morning from my sister who owns a resto on the Algarve:

'Even racist shit going on here, drunken tourists at cafes in another town, shouting at Portuguese...you are all fuckers and wogs and...hard to believe.'

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Theresa May seems like a 2016 version of Maggie Thatcher, but she was "quietly" on the Remain side of the referendum, I understand. She has said if she leads the Tories there'll be no General Election before 2020 and no referendum re-do. So, if she becomes PM we'll hope that she and Angela Merkel might get on well enough to construct a less painful way of easing the UK out of EU - if that has to be- it has to be. She's ultra-conservative, but at least, from what I've read, level-headed - no fanatic. Arron Banks - scary!

Oh - what a sad outcome for your sister - I hope the disease doesn't spread to affect her business. I feel ashamed to be British at times like these. Most, though, truly are better than this lunatic fringe.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe most are better. It's sad and troubling that the Brexit campaigners supported the legitimacy of the rabid anti-immigration types, thus appearing to license this type of behaviour.

Yesterday I read in a Portuguese paper that the French are now pouring into Portugal to holiday and retire so it doesnn't sound like the Portuguese tourism industry will suffer should some of the Brexiters stay home.